Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is yet to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000 for its staff 2 years after it was reviewed.
TheCable understands that failure to adopt the new wage has unsettled the staff of the congress amid talks of a possible strike to push for the implementation. Workers at the NLC secretariat who asked not to be named because they were not authorised to speak on the matter confirmed that the Ayuba Wabba-led management still pays them their previous wage.
TheCable was informed at the secretariat on Monday that none of the congress’ leaders was available for comments as they are all in Kaduna, where they had directed a strike after accusing the state government of “anti-worker policies”. TheCable has contacted Ayuba for comments.
NLC ON THE FOREFRONT OF CAMPAIGN FOR MINIMUM WAGE
President Muhamadu Buhari had in May 2018 signed the wage bill, effectively raising minimum pay Nigerian workers can earn from N18,000 to N30,000. The bill is binding on all employers of labour — both in the public and private sectors.
But while NLC has been threatening industrial action against states yet to implement the adjusted minimum wage, staff at its national secretariat and state offices are still hoping for when they would enjoy such privilege. In April 2019, Wabba, the NLC president, had said that all employers of labour yet to effect N30,000 minimum wage — except those employing less than 25 persons — would be made to face the law.
In January, he criticised governors yet to effect the review, saying: “We call on all our state councils still struggling with their state governments on payment of the national minimum wage and consequential salary increase, and those whose state governments have unilaterally cut wages and are owing workers salary arrears to prepare for mass industrial action and protests this New Year.”
BUT THE NLC PRESIDENT RISKS CONVICTION AS WELL
Section 9 of the national minimum wage act criminalises failure of employers to comply with the new pay, with specified penalties including a fine and payment of all arrears.
Subsection 2 reads: “Any employer who fails to comply with subsection 1 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to pay – (a) a fine not exceeding 5% of the offender’s monthly wage; (b) all outstanding arrears of the workers’ wages; …
“And (c) an additional penalty of not less than the prevailing CBN lending rate on wages owed, for each month of a continuing violation, provided the power to order payment on account of wages under subsection (2) shall not derogate from rights of the worker to recover wages due to him by any other proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction.”
The act also states that an officer authorised by the minister of labour shall serve a notice of enforcement to employers who fail to pay the minimum wage and where they still do not comply, in part or in whole, the matter shall be referred to the National Industrial Court.